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Lot 806. A red and black lacquered-wood 'ear cup’, er bei, Warring States period, circa 4th–3rd century BC; 6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm.) long, cloth boxEstimate USD 8,000 – USD 12,000Price realised USD 10,710© Christie's 2023

The elliptical cup rests on a flat base, with the deep rounded sides rising to a thin lip and flanked by a pair of ‘butterfly-wing' shaped ears decorated with zig-zag patterns on top and spiral motifs on the sides. The decorations are painted in red and black, the lower sides and base are lacquered in black, and the interior is lacquered red.

ProvenanceAcquired in Hong Kong, 1995.
J. J. Lally & Co., New York, no. 2113C.

NoteA very similar lacquered wood ear cup (er bei) was discovered in 1965 in tomb no. 1 in the Warring States cemetery at Wangshan, Jiangling, Hubei province, and is illustrated in Hubei chutu Zhanguo Qin Han qiqi (Lacquerware from the Warring States to the Han Periods Excavated in Hubei Province), Hong Kong, 1994, no. 3. The same ear cup is illustrated again in the excavation report, Jiangling Wangshan Shazhong Chu mu (Chu Tombs at Wangshan and Shazhong, Jiangling), Beijing, 1996, col. pl. 3, no. 1, together with another very similar example from tomb no. 2 at Wangshan, illustrated in pl. 76, no. 3.

Christie's. J. J. Lally & Co., New York, 23.03.2023